Officials forge ahead with roundabout plans |

Officials forge ahead with roundabout plans

BRECKENRIDGE – A roundabout at North Park Avenue and Highway 9 in Breckenridge would be the best way to reconfigure the intersection as part of a swap to relocate the highway from Main Street to Park Avenue, state transportation engineers said Monday.

Construction could begin as early as next spring and be completed that fall, Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) engineers told county commissioners Monday.

CDOT is in the process of drafting an Environmental Impact Statement to address traffic congestion and safety issues along Highway 9 between Frisco and Breckenridge. As part of that, engineers and local officials agreed, redesigning the intersection of North Park Avenue and Highway 9 – and moving the highway from Main Street to Park Avenue – would best help traffic flow at peak hours. It would impact the justice center less than the other alternatives, as well.

Engineers proposed four alternatives, including a “sweeping turn” intersection, the existing, traditional “T” intersection, a traditional roundabout with a sweeping turn and a traditional roundabout.

They also suggested improvements including traffic signals and roundabouts at French and Main streets, lengthening the left-turn lane from Park Avenue onto Airport Road and widening the southbound lanes on Park Avenue to give drivers better access to the City Market shopping center.

CDOT planner Lisa Kassel will present the proposal to the public later this month.

Relocating the highway would reduce conflicts between cars and the many pedestrians along Main Street, would allow for future growth without affecting the town’s historic district and improve traffic flow on the highway, Assistant County Manager Steve Hill said. Additionally, it would provide more convenient parking for visitors and rectify traffic signal timing problems on Main Street.

The biggest challenge facing engineers was reducing the impact of the sweeping “T” lanes on 8,100 square feet of parking and snow storage in the Justice Center parking lot. But Breckenridge Town Manager Tim Gagen said the town would be willing to remove snow to town storage lots to make up for the center’s loss.

Other concerns justice center officials have include how the “T” intersection would impact plans for a third courtroom. They also want construction designs to alleviate traffic noise to the levels required for a library, hospital and auditorium. Town and county officials agreed to work those issues out as they come up.

Other improvements, notably traffic signals, would be installed at the intersections of French and Main streets and Park Avenue and Airport Road.

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